Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A bit of good news about traffic

Okay, so you know by now that I'm bitter when it comes to Beijing's traffic. It's rare that you look Stupidity straight in the face and get bitch slapped and find yourself unable to do anything about it except say a few expletives or post a few blogs. And you get slapped again and spat on and then, in a move so brazen that you're almost shocked into submission, Stupidity slides off its pants and shits in your mouth. It's not a clean shit, either: there's dribble on your chin, and bacteria's now crawling all up in your eyeball, and it doesn't take a goddam astrologist to discern all shapes and sizes of runny brown constellations on your cheek. And Stupidity only laughs and goes straight to the bank to cash in its million-dollar check. Fucking Stupidity. I hate that guy.

So... car buyers in the city are stupid. Sorry, fellas who need a car to get a girlfriend because you're social eunuchs, but it's true. I'm not talking to you specifically, but you're stupid. And maybe not all the 4.7 million car owners and 6.2 million registered drivers in the city are stupid, but they're pretty stupid. You've all shat in our mouths once too often, and it's about time you get your comeuppance. Now, the following isn't exactly the same as ripping off all your clothes and locking you in a refrigerator, and frankly I want to drown you in urine, but this is long overdue:

Beijing Thursday announced an annual cap on new automobile registration, starting next year, as part of a tough set of measures to tackle the city's notorious traffic gridlock, setting off a last-minute, car-buying spree last night.

I'm going to pretend I didn't read that last part. Victory for sanity! For reason! The Enlightenment, 210-or-so years later, wins!

Global Times article continues:

The city will license only 240,000 new vehicles next year, and buyers of new cars will have to apply for license plates by means of a lottery, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport (BMCT) said at a press briefing Thursday.

Oh my fucking lord, I just came.

Parking times inside the 5th Ring Road will be charged per 15 minutes rather than per 30 minutes, while parking fees in the city will be from 2 yuan to 10 yuan per hour.

This is just too much ! Am bookmarking now because, like long pornos, this deserves to be savored. Although everyone knows nobody can make it through a 10-minute porno; just give me the first three minutes and last 30 seconds, and the rest I'll look at when I'm dead.

Su Hui, a senior auto market analyst with the China Automobile Dealers Association, said the new policy will deal a huge blow to the auto industry and reduce the sales volume in Beijing by more than 70 percent next year.

"Huge blow."

"About 20,000 auto agents and employees, half of the total in the city, will be forced to find new jobs. What's more, the Beijing model is likely to be followed in other cities, thus bringing destructive damage to the auto industry," he said.

Hang on a second, I need to go unclog my toilet...

I'd go on, but my excitement prevents me.

So, here, Stupidity, here is what you no longer get: you no longer get compensated for not driving, you spoiled anal-retentive leeches; you no longer get tax breaks for driving small-engine cars, you son of a whore -- a small-engine car is to fuel efficiency what self-castration is for population control; you no longer get to cry about not being able to find a 200,000-yuan SUV... god, I don't even know what to call you... JUST DIE; you no longer get vaguely worded government edicts that deserve to be skull-fucked, like the 12th Five-Year Plan suggesting residents "live close to where they work to ease congestion."

You get to ride a bike. Or whine to your friends about how life's so unfair to your daintiness and modern sensibilities. You probably go home and make your Pekingese give it to you from behind, don't you.

Oh, and you, Auto Industry: you, by the wrath of all that is unholy, be devastated like the wet mitten of a pussy you are. You will be more devastated than that time [censored][censored][censored]. I will fucking [censored] grandmother [censored][censored]. Enjoy your fucking tears, you elephant ball of shit.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What you should know if you're about to get your cat neutered

December 14: So, I just backdated a post about Ovid and Ziggy, two brother cats who came to me about three months ago. They're nearing their sixth-month birthday...

Today: Alicia and I got our cats neutered today, after some hesitancy. We read extensively on the procedure and solicited opinion from various people before coming to the decision that, bottom line, there were no drawbacks to neutering our two boys. I expressed doubt because I reasoned there was nothing wrong with our cats, who were barely six months old, and wouldn't it be better to wait and see whether the two actually got aggressive with each other, or sprayed, instead of rushing ahead with a permanent, potentially life- and personality-changing procedure? But the more research I did, the more I was able to let myself be convinced that neutering cats doesn't actually change them, and so the decision was made.

The vet seemed experienced and trustworthy enough. We actually took the cats to him on Saturday, but Ovid had thrown up earlier that day so he advised we bring them back another day. I suspected he just didn't want to work on Friday, or something, but we agreed to postpone. So we were back today and I put my name to a release form and paid the 70 dollars for each cat and watched as they sedated them -- Ovid first, his eyes going blank, his head dropping like dead weight off to the side -- and brought them from the other room after the 10-minute procedure -- again, Ovid first, his body limp, eyes glued shut by special eyedrop fluid -- and advised us that they might be disoriented after waking, and that we can feed them after six to eight hours. Apparently Ziggy was going to wake up first -- as if that detail mattered.

Here's the thing the vet should have told us, which is what you need to know if you own a cat and deliberating whether to get him neutered: be ready for your heretofore adorable, lively, all-too-trusting pet to hate your guts for eight hours and show its hatred of you by alternately threatening you with a combination of hisses and chill-inducing growls and threatening to do itself bodily harm by wedging into awkward nooks and refusing to eat or drink. It's absolutely gut-wrenching and demoralizing and all kinds of soul-crushing.

Read rest here.



Saturday, December 25, 2010

Song Yige's Christmas

From her recent exhibition at Art Mia

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve in Beijing

Look how close Santa is to the Great Wall! [Source: NORAD]

Picture taken a couple minutes ago

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In defense of Fang Binxing, father of the Great Firewall

Backdated on January 12, 2011 ... thought I'd posted this earlier. Please reference this article for background.

It is this humble columnist's opinion that Fang Binxing (方滨兴), a.k.a. father of the Great Firewall, is not a poor excuse for a man who rides a mud horse. The only thing "poor" there is the metaphor. He is most certainly higher than a skunk in the pecking order of carbon-based lifeforms on Earth, and I would suspect he's higher than most other animals too. I disagree with the opinion that he is a running dog of the government. Fang Binxing doesn't need to run: he has an Audi and at least four other cars.

I do not think it is civil to throw bricks at Fang Binxing, as you can cause him bodily harm and maybe cause an aneurysm. And why all the interest in his family? Fang Binxing doesn't even have a sister, as far as I can tell.

Just to clear up some confusion: Brother Fang is a healthy civil servant of the country, and as such he will not die for at least 40 or 50 years. Also, my source tells me Fang Binxing is "more than likely" not a eunuch.

Fang Binxing's mother is a kind, gently woman who instilled in her son the double-happy spirit of the revolution and capitalism. Fang Binxing will not be going to Hell, because that is a Judeo-Christian contrivance to keep disobedient Western urchins and tykes in check. Chinese schoolkids need no such chicanery to be model citizens.

I am shocked that people would say Fang Binxing spent his life "extracting filth." I've seen him in wingtips, and how could he possibly wear those if he does the work of peasants?

Fang Binxing's son, should he have one, probably has a penis. His daughter has a vagina, trust me on that!

Frankly, I think the implication that Fang Binxing is infertile is not based off any hard evidence whatsoever.

Fang Binxing is no enemy of humankind. I do agree with one thing though -- he is a very courageous man. He is a true inspiration and hero who deserves every pay raise he has ever received, and that free trip to Sanya, Hainan province, and those 1,868-dollar bottles of Moutai, and, you know, those apartments.

Fang Binxing, can I speak to you for a moment as a friend? You are certainly not a walking heap of gelatinous shit, and anyone who thinks so, frankly, has very little mind for basic biology. You are not a monster with a duck chin. I don't even know what that means. You are an un-ugly man with a warm heart and kindnesses that is a blessing to all the world. We are lucky that you were born, and I thank your mother, I thank your father, and I thank this magnanimous country for making you possible!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oh, that explains so much about Beijing traffic

From Xinhua/China Daily:

BEIJING, Dec. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Today we get caught in hyper congestion, but not in a bit of surprise, for we knew it was coming long ago.

Back in 1995, right after the Chinese government announced a new policy to develop the auto industry as one of the national pillar industries and to promote domestic market for household cars, the World Bank anticipated that traffic congestion would soon become a mega-city woe.

In other words, you knew about the impending doom of Beijing's roadways and chose to do nothing. I believe there's a word to describe people like you:


Monday, December 20, 2010

When Deadspin, wordplay and China meet

I've posted about this before, but the funny people over at Deadspin keep 'em coming. Sampling of comments on this post about a Chinese hurdler:

This reminds me of a chapter in Deborah Fallows's book Dreaming in Chinese subtitled "Language play as a national sport," wherein the author describes the role of punning in Chinese humor. She writes:

Such language play works because the Chinese sound system uses only about 400 syllables, compared to 4,000 in English.... Because of its spare syllable structure, Chinese offers a heyday for punsters, jokesters, storytellers, blogers, twitterers and other language mavens.

Deadspin's comments have more depth than perhaps even the commenters realize.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The cold

Listen here. The cold, what it'll to do ya is, it'll splinter ya straight. Ain't no worse thing than sidling leaden-feet-like purposeless through the lightless tributaries of this made conurbation. Better to walk, seek the end of your benighted path fore moving to the next, and we do such things when the spine's tinned with the season's frost an motiveless psychosis. It was seven-below-freezing on the Centigrade scale last night. Sensible men have been forged out of less. The pitiable were not seen, and I, skin unyoking from flesh, fingers numb like the heart of my lover, breath phlegmy amid daggers of ill intent, felt alive!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Santacon invades Tiananmen

Imagine this: you're a Chinese leader fretting about the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, then you look out your office window and see a bunch of Santas parading around Tiananmen Square. GAH!

Welcome to Santacon 2010, which was this past Saturday.

The most complete write-up of the day comes from Beijing Daze, who writes, "Sadly however, some media organizations chose to focus on the negative with headlines about Chinese security kicking Santas off the square." Beijing Boyce and UPI have text and stories too.

Also, one Jonah M. Kessel -- great photos on his site, including the one you see up top.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Futile, I say. FUTILE

Ripped straight from China Daily Show:

BEIJING - Most nations support China's stance on the Nobel Peace Prize, and China will not yield to outside pressure on this issue, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Thursday in response to a question concerning the prize being awarded to convicted criminal Liu Xiaobo.

"Any attempt to deter China from development will be futile," she said.

Except, of course, this isn't from China Daily Show. It's from China Daily. I wonder if reality will, soon enough, imitate art. (Just waiting for the China Daily article about Japanese octoporn (c.f. this.)

Of course, speaking about the Nobel Peace Prize, this is the must-read commentary on the event, from Evan Osnos:

I’ve seen versions of the black screen over the years in China, but there is something especially dispiriting about the farce this time. Decades ago, the parallel world in the state-run press was, in its own way, an accurate reflection of China’s delusions. But this time the falsehoods are an end in themselves, self-invented lies dressed up as flamboyant demonstrations of defiance. Chinese leaders know that they are harming their reputation around the world, but they are calculating that the damage is temporary, and that they will ride it out. Perhaps, but the harm is substantial this time. China is not Hitler’s Germany, and now the comparison will endure in history.

But there is a more urgent danger implied by these self-invented lies—the danger that they reflect a weakness in the way that China reaches its most sensitive decisions, an inability to ferret out the most prudent solution to problems. Chinese leaders often invoke the wisdom and moderation of Confucius these days. But Daniel Bell, a Confucian specialist in Beijing, told me today that the Confucian Analects contain advice that might give a Chinese leader pause this week:

If you [the ruler] are right and no one contradicts you, that’s fine; but if you are wrong and no one contradicts you—is that not … leading a state to ruin?
POSTSCRIPT: Speaking of ripped from satire, down to the final line: Chinese publishers recall pirated pornographic fairy tales, China Economic Review.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Liu Xiaodong's "Hometown Boy" and other notable art exhibitions

I try to make my way to 798 and Caochangdi every other month, but few of my visits have resulted in as positive an experience as I got yesterday after seeing the following exhibitions:

First, plenty has already been written about Liu's exhibition -- at the behest of UCCA, he returns home to Jincheng, Liaoning province after a lengthy time away (during which he gained international fame) to paint pictures of his old friends -- so I'll only add a few words about the accompanying hour-long documentary of his trip, made by Hou Hsiao-Hsien: it's spectacular. Everyone should take some time to watch it. The accompanying Vivaldi soundtrack makes it all the more mesmerizing. Through the film, you really see an intimate, rare glimpse of Chinese life. I would say impoverished Chinese life, but that both seems redundant and unnecessary; redundant because most people in Jincheng live, for the most part, in poverty, and unnecessary because that's beside the point. The story's not about how people live, it's that they do. It's a truly original and eye-opening and deeply moving -- though completely unsentimental -- portrait of an artist and his city.


I was absolutely taken aback by how good Song's exhibition was, and the amazing thing about it is the artist belongs to the "post-80s generation," which I believe qualifies her work under the banner "genius."

She tackles the theme of anxiety and melancholy, yet the craftsmanship of her work is so good that what you really only feel is admiration. See below:

As for Chen's "Ink History"... here it is:

Here are some miscellaneous pictures. The first is from UCCA, the others from Pekin:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Trivia results

The Beijinger's write-up of the event is here, and this is a live blog from Beijing Boyce.

And a video that no one in their right mind should watch:

the Beijinger Super Quiz

See here.

Tonight's the night, 7 pm at Hard Rock Cafe, one of the prostitute havens of Beijing. Or is that no longer true?

50 rmb gets you in the door, all proceeds go to charity. Apparently drinks will be cheap, too.

Jim and I are doing the image round and leading off the show. Should be a good time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tony "The Taser" Tao

I'm part of the Beijinger's Super Quiz lineup. On Sunday, December 5, Jim and I will be hosting one of the rounds for a trivia night at Hard Rock Cafe. All proceeds go to charity.

Here's our ad:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Steve Francis to play next season in Beijing

From NiuBBall:

The Beijing Youth Daily reported late Tuesday night that Steve Francis and the Ducks have agreed in principle to a one-year deal after the two sides came together on a general contract late last night.

Beijing and Francis had been engaged in several rounds of talks over the last few weeks, with both sides sending contract proposals back and forth from China and the States. Up until yesterday, however, the two sides had been unable to come to an agreement, despite mutual interest from both sides. A CBA source speaking to NiuBBall anonymously said that negotiations have been largely problematic, with both sides unwilling to change their stances over so called ‘special provisions’ that the three-time NBA All-Star are asking for. At the forefront of these provisions are clauses involving business cooperations and brand sponsorships that would allow Francis to market himself to China’s booming basketball market.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Introducing: Ovid and Ziggy

Because let's face it, this has always been a cat blog (yes, I miss Pi dearly), this is Ovid:

And this is his younger brother, Ziggy:

Read about these two here.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Picture of the Day: China at 61

The People's Republic is 61 years young. Here's to progress.

Pictures taken tonight, so not technically on the country's birthday, but close enough.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Introducing: NiuBBall, and a note about trivia tomorrow

NiuBBall is a new site create by Jonathan Pastuszek dedicated to basketball in China. Check it out.

Tomorrow, Jim and I are hosting a 20th week special of trivia at Souk Lounge. The bar is offering a pretty amazing all-you-can-drink deal: 60 rmb gets you all the Tsingtao beer and well drinks you can have.

Come check it out if you're in the area: Souk Lounge, Chaoyang Park West Gate.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Beijing needs more cars, yes it does

I violated my own rule today, but much more stupidly. At rush hour I got on a bus between Dawanglu and Yonganli heading west. I wanted to ride it for one station in order to get on the subway, though I'm not sure why I didn't just walk five minutes east to the Dawanglu station.

The bus stalled two minutes in and didn't arrive at its destination until 30 minutes later, if you can call it a destination. At some point during the journey that would never end, the doors opened and people went streaming out. I personally was saved by Pearl Buck's The Good Earth and was rather absorbed in reading, but that didn't stop me from exiting. The driver said to us as we passed, "Walking doesn't necessarily mean you'll get there faster."

Uh-huh. Enjoy the sunset, buddy.

As I walked 10 minutes to the Yonganli station, the cars in traffic moved NOT ONE INCH. I don't usually use all-caps just for times like this, when all-caps are called for: NOT ONE INCH. Drivers got out of their cars to stand in the comfortable autumn air and put their cars in park, fitting because the street was one giant parking lot. Not one inch.

A foreigner on the road got out and snapped pictures, prompting someone walking beside me to say, "What's there to take pictures of?" Traffic jams are a way of life here, I suppose, but I wondered at the blase expressions on the faces of drivers who weren't moving nary an inch. And passengers sat comfortably in cabs like they were brain-dead. They seemed... at peace. Meibanfa. At one point I actually grinned, intending schadenfreude, but people on the road just didn't seem miserable enough and somehow I was disappointed.

I think it's obvious that Beijing needs to lower the prices of cars and encourage people to buy them for themselves, their significant others, their family members and their children. People must be allowed to implode under the weight of their stupidity, otherwise this silliness will continue forever and standstill traffic will continue being just a "way of life" in Beijing.

The Beijinger said the situation was at its "bursting point" and quoted a Global Times article that said about the same, but I'm not so sure. More cars, please. More cars and more consumption and more naked commerce so that the system buckles and the rest of us who aren't retarded can pull up lawn chairs on the side of the road and snap pictures of these drivers in their idling cars, a picture of modern absurdity par excellence. Yes, more cars is definitely the answer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Greetings from Changi Airport in Singapore

Where the Internet is free and relatively fast. There are also Internet stations all over this place where people can log on for free. What an amazing airport -- and concept.

Heading to Hong Kong to get a Z work visa, finally. And what was I doing in Singapore?

Monday, September 20, 2010


Backdated from Oct. 5, 2010.

In Singapore now, where over the weekend there was an Ultimate Frisbee tournament in which my team had a very good time.

One can't help noticing the cleanliness and scrubbed-over modernity of Singapore, especially as it contrasts against so many cities in Asia. There are other, less positive ways to describe the city, of course -- over-commercialized, etherized, boring, expensive -- but one cannot deny that it is a worthy heavyweight among Asian destinations and one worth further exploration.

A few more pictures:

The incredible Sands Hotel:

Best swimming pool in the world?